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William Wycherley

(1641—1716) playwright


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(1641–1715),

dramatist, whose first play, Love in a Wood, or, St James's Park, a comedy of intrigue, was probably acted in 1671, and published in 1672. His second play, The Gentleman Dancing‐Master, was probably acted 1671, published 1673; The Country Wife was published and probably first acted 1675; his last play, The Plain‐Dealer, was probably acted 1676, published 1677. His Miscellany Poems (1704) led to a friendship with Pope, who revised many of his writings.

Wycherley's plays, admired by Lamb but condemned by Macaulay as licentious and indecent, are highly regarded for their acute social criticism, particularly of sexual morality and the marriage conventions; his characterization and thematic organization are also strong, and his last two plays have been successfully revived many times. See also Restoration.

Subjects: Literature — Theatre.


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Works by William Wycherley

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